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restricted that country to free labor, the Southern members hoped to obtain a footing for slavery in at least a part of it; and on the 16th of January, 1854, Senator Dixon, of Kentucky, gave notice that whenever the Nebraska bill should be called up he would move the following amendment: "That so much of the eighth section of an act approved March 6, 1820, entitled 'An act to authorize the people of the Missouri Territory to form a constitution and State government, and for the admission of such State into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, and to prohibit slavery in certain Territories,' as declares that, 'in all the territory ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of 36° 30′ north latitude, slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall be forever prohibited,' shall not be so construed as to apply to the Territory contemplated by this act, or to any other Territory of the United States; but that the citizens of the several States or Territories shall be at liberty to take and hold their slaves within any of the Territories or States to be formed therefrom, as if the said act, entitled as aforesaid, had never been passed."
This announcement startled the people of the North, for the amendment proposed a repudiation of the Missouri Compromise, without seeking its repeal.
Senator Douglas, Chairman of the Committee on Territories, on the 23d of January, 1854, reported a bill, which provided for the organization of the Platte country into two Territories. The southern portion, which lay directly west of Missouri, stretching to the Rocky Mountains on the west, and extending from the thirty-seventh to the fortieth parallel of north latitude, was to be organized into a distinct Territory, to be called Kansas. The remainder was to be called Nebraska, having the line of
43° 30' for its northern boundary, and Mr. Douglas incorporated in the bill the main features of Mr. Dixon's amendment. Section 21 provided, "That, in order to avoid misconstruction, it is hereby declared to be the true intent and meaning of this act, so far as the question of slavery is concerned, to carry into practical operation the following propositions and principles, established by the compromise measures of one thousand eight hundred and fifty, to-wit:
"First. That all questions pertaining to slavery in the Territories, and in the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of the people residing therein, through their appropriate representatives.
"Second. That all cases involving title to slaves, and questions of personal freedom, are referred to the adjudication of the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States.
"Third. That the provisions of the constitution and laws of the United States, in respect to fugitives from service, are to be carried into faithful execution in all the 'organized Territories' the same as in the States."
The section of the bill which prescribed the qualifications and mode of election of a Delegate from each of the Territories, was as follows: "The Constitution, and all laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the said Territory as elsewhere in the United States, except the section of the act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820, which was superseded by the principles of the legislation of 1850, commonly called the compromise measures, and is declared inoperative."
The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 37 ayes to 14 noes, and the House by 113 ayes to 100 noes; and on the 31st of May, 1854, received the approval of President Pierce. (See House and Senate Journals, 1854.)
By the passage of this bill all the Territories were opened up to the introduction of slavery, and the abrogation of the Missouri Compromise renewed the sectional strife.
RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH DENIED TO DOUGLAS.
It would seem strange that to the Senators of the free State of Illinois should be left the task of furnishing the legislation which was to extend the boundary of slavery, or gratify the extravagant demands of the pro-slavery men of the South. No special notice seems ever to have been taken in Illinois of the amendment offered by Senator Thomas, which formed the basis of the Missouri Compromise, but Douglas was denounced all through the North by the anti-slavery men-Democrats as well as Whigsand was denied the right of free speech on his return to his home in Chicago, in August, 1854. He had caused the announcement to be made previous to his arrival that he would address his fellow-citizens at North Market Hall, in vindication of his course in Congress on the Kansas and Nebraska bill, and when the hour had arrived for the meeting, thousands upon thousands of persons thronged the place with no other motive than to prevent him from speaking, and for four long hours did he stand facing the mob, and at every lull of the tumult venturing to address them, but at last he was forced to leave the stand without making himself heard, intelligibly, even for a moment.
During the discussion which preceded the passage of this bill, emigrant aid societies had been formed in the New England States for the purpose of aiding emigration to Kansas, and in view of the fact that emigration from the Southern States was slow, it became apparent to the pro-slavery men that if something was not done to counteract the Northern emigration, Kansas would become a free State, and in order to do this hundreds of pro-slavery
men from Missouri were sent over to take charge of the affairs of the Territory. On their arrival, formal notice was given to the free-State men to leave the Territory and never return to it, but this they declined to do, and the result was that an intestine war prevailed for a long time, during which many free-State men were murdered in cold blood, while others were driven out of the Territory with the loss of their property, many of whom were from Illinois; and as a climax to these great wrongs, the pro-slavery men framed, through fraud, a constitution recognizing slavery, and attempted, by the aid of the Administration of President Buchanan, to force Kansas into the Union under that constitution, and here the power and greatness of Douglas shone forth in their brightest splendor, for to his masterly opposition, more than to all other causes, was this outrage upon the character and intelligence of the people of Kansas averted, and those who had denounced him for the repeal of the Missouri Compromise now applauded him with a fervor that was as boundless as the denunciation had been.
ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
Here is the state of facts which impelled anti-slavery Democrats, anti-slavery Whigs and anti-slavery Americans to form a new party, with the hope of arresting the aggressive steps of the slave power in the National Government; and it was this that moved the anti-slavery men of Illinois to aid in the organization of the new party, and one of the first meetings which took place in the 'State, for this purpose, was held in Jacksonville in 1853, at which there were only seven persons, namely, John O. King, Elihu Wolcott, Charles Chappel, James Johnson, John Mathers, William Harrison and Anderson Foreman. A resolution was adopted pledging themselves to use all honorable means to prevent the further spread of slavery. In 1854, similar meetings were held in various counties of
Central and Northern Illinois, and a State convention met at Springfield in October, and nominated John E. McClun, of McLean county, as a candidate for Treasurer, but the name of James Miller, of the same county, was afterwards substituted, and he made the race as an anti-Kansas-Nebraska man against John Moore, the Democratic candidate, but he failed of election.
The anti-slavery men were, for a long time, at a loss for an acceptable name for a new party. The first suggestion of Republican party, was made at the convention of Whigs held in Bloomington, in 1854, which nominated Jesse O. Norton for Congress, by Jesse Lynch, who introduced a resolution, which was seconded by John Cusey, which proposed to call the new organization the Republican party.
The anti-slavery movement continued to grow in magnitude, and in the spring of 1856 the sentiment was ripe for the organization of a new party, and at the suggestion of the Jacksonville Journal, then a weekly newspaper, edited by Paul Selby, the present editor of the Illinois State Journal, a meeting of the anti-Kansas-Nebraska editors was held at Decatur, February 22, for the purpose of outlining a political policy. There were present at this meeting V. Y. Ralston, Quincy Whig; C. H. Ray, Chicago Tribune; O. P. Wharton, Rock Island Advertiser; T. J. Pickett, Peoria Republican; George Schneider, Chicago Staats-Zeitung; Charles Faxon, Princeton Post; A. N. Ford, Lacon Gazette; B. F. Shaw, Dixon Telegraph; W. J. Usrey, Decatur Chronicle; Paul Selby, Jacksonville Journal. A resolution was adopted recommending that a State convention be called to meet at Bloomington, May 29, and a committee consisting of one from each Congressional district, and two from the State at large, was selected for that purpose. The committee was as follows: W. B. Ogden, Chicago; S. M. Church, Rockford; G. D. A. Parks,